Jim’s Building a New WHS – Choosing the Motherboard

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As I mentioned in The Home Server Show 82, I am going to ask for your advice (or convincing) on all the parts needed to build a new WHS. Starting with the motherboard and CPU, we will have an open discussion at the HSS forums (http://homeservershow.com/forums).  After a week or two on each part, I will make a decision and we will start with the next component. We may even discuss your posts on the show.

My priorities will be to get the best value that is available. Not always the cheapest, but not the most expensive either. I want this server to be around for a while as well, but also easy to upgrade when the time comes or the need arises.

After some discussion in the forums already, here are some basic guidelines:
1.  Onboard video is required.  I don’t want to have to install a video card
2.  DDR 3 Memory 
3.  Gigabit Ethernet
4.  No less than 4 SATA ports

Nice to haves:
1.  USB 3.0
2. 6Gb SATA

Not important at all:
1.  Anything to do with Audio
2.  Memory Support above 8 GB

Based on some of our discussion so far, here are some boards that have been identified.  For our reference.  Currently I have only listed Gigabyte boards due to the recommendation of PCDOC in the forums.  Do you have a board that you favor?

Jim’s Starting Pick:

 

MSI P43-C51 LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard

CPU Socket TypeLGA 775
CPU Type

Core 2 Quad / Core 2 Extreme / Core 2 Duo

# of Mem Slots4×240pin
Mem Standard

DDR3 800/1066/1333/1600 (OC)

Max Mem Sup16GB
Mem ChannelDual Channel
Exp Slots

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 
2 x PCI Express x16 
3 x PCI Slots

SATA3Gb x 6
VideoNone – Picked it before I made the requirements
LAN Speed10/100/1000Mbps
Rear Panel

2 x PS/2 
6 x USB 2.0
6 Audio Ports

Form FactorATX
Warranty1 years limited
Price / Retailer$79.99 Newegg

 Intel Boards:

 

GIGABYTE GA-H55M-S2H LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI Micro ATX Intel

GIGABYTE GA-H55M-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel

GIGABYTE GA-H55-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI USB 3.0 ATX Intel

CPU Socket TypeLGA 1156LGA 1156LGA 1156
CPU Type

Core i7 / i5 / i3

Core i7 / i5 / i3

Core i7 / i5 / i3

# of Mem Slots2×240pin4×240pin4×240pin
Mem Standard

DDR3 2200+/1800/1600/1333/1066/800

DDR3 2200*/1800/1600/1333/1066/800DDR3 1666(OC)/1333/1066/800
Max Mem Sup8GB16GB16GB
Mem ChannelDual ChannelDual ChannelDual Channel
Exp Slots

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16
1 x PCI Express x16
2 x PCI Slots

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16
1 x PCI Express x1
2 x PCI Slots

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16
3 x PCI Express x1
3 x PCI Slots

SATA3Gb x 63Gb x 73Gb x 7 
0/1/JBOD
VideoD-Sub + DVI
1 x HDMI
D-Sub + DVI
1 x HDMI
D-Sub + DVI
1 x HDMI
LAN Speed10/100/1000Mbps10/100/1000Mbps10/100/1000Mbps
Rear Panel

1 x PS/2
8 x USB 2.0

 

1 x Optical S/PDIF Out
6 Audio Ports

1 x PS/2
4 x USB 2.0
2 x USB 3.0
1 x IEEE 1394a
1 x eSATA 3Gb/s
1 x Optical S/PDIF Out
6 Audio Ports

1 x PS/2
4 x USB 2.0
2 x USB 3.0
1 x IEEE 1394a
1 x eSATA 3Gb/s

6 Audio Ports

Form FactorMicro ATXMicro ATXMicro ATX
Warranty3 years limited3 years limited1 year limited
Price / Retailer$89.99 Newegg$109.99 Newegg$124.99 Newegg

AMD Boards:

 

GIGABYTE GA-MA785GT-UD3H AM3 AMD 785G HDMI ATX AMD

GIGABYTE GA-785GMT-USB3 AM3 AMD 785G HDMI USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD

GIGABYTE GA-790XTA-UD4 AM3 AMD 790X SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD

CPU Socket TypeAM3AM3AM3
CPU Type

Phenom II / Athlon II / Sempron 100 Series

Phenom II / Athlon II / Sempron 100 Series

Phenom II / Athlon II / Sempron 100 Series

# of Mem Slots4×240pin4×240pin4×240pin
Mem Standard

DDR3 1666(O.C.) /1333/1066

DDR3 1800 (OC)/1666/1333/1066

DDR3 1866(OC)*/1333/1066

Max Mem Sup16GB16GB16GB
Mem ChannelDual ChannelDual ChannelDual Channel
Exp Slots

2 xPCI Express 2.0 x16
3 x PCI Express x1
2 x PCI Slots

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16
1 x PCI Express x1
2 x PCI Slots

2 xPCI Express 2.0 x16 
3 x PCI Express x1 
2 x PCI Slots

SATA3Gb x 6  

0/1/10/JBOD

3Gb x 5 

0/1/10/JBOD

3Gb x 6
6Gb x 2  
0/1/5/10/JBOD
VideoD-Sub + DVI
1 x HDMI
D-Sub + DVI
1 x HDMI
D-Sub + DVI
1 x HDMI
LAN Speed10/100/1000Mbps10/100/1000Mbps10/100/1000Mbps
Rear Panel

1 x PS/2 
6 x USB 2.0

1 x IEEE 1394a

1 x Optical S/PDIF Out
6 Audio Ports

1 x PS/2  
4 x USB 2.0
2 x USB 3.0
1 x IEEE 1394a
1 x eSATA 3Gb/s
1 x Optical S/PDIF Out
6 Audio Ports

1 x PS/2
4 x USB 2.0
2 x USB 3.0
1 x IEEE 1394a
1 x eSATA 3Gb/s
1 x Optical S/PDIF Out
6 Audio Ports

Form FactorATXMicro ATXATX
Warranty3 years limited2 years limited3 year limited
Price / Retailer$94.99 Newegg$94.99 Newegg$139.99 Newegg

Atom Processor/Motherboards

 

JetWay JNC63P-330-LF Intel Atom 330 1.6GHz Dual Core NVIDIA ION Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo

ZOTAC IONITX-F-E Intel Atom 330 (1.6GHz, dual-core) NVIDIA ION Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo

CPU Socket Type

Motherboard/CPU Combo

Motherboard/CPU Combo

CPU Type

Intel Atom 330 1.6GHz Dual Core

Intel Atom 330 1.6GHz Dual Core

# of Mem Slots2x240pin2x240pin
Mem Standard

DDR2 800/667

DDR2 800/667

Max Mem Sup4GB4GB
Mem ChannelDual Channel 
Exp Slots

 

1 x PCI Express x16
1 x mini-PCIE (WiFi occupied)

SATA3Gb x 43Gb x 3
0/1/0+1
Video

D-Sub + DVI
1 x HDMI

D-Sub + DVI
1 x HDMI
NVIDIA GeForce 9400

LAN Speed10/100/1000Mbps10/100/1000Mbps
WiFi IEEE 802.11 n
Rear Panel

1 x PS/2 Mouse & Keyboard Combined connector
6 x USB 2.0

3 Audio Ports

1 x PS/2

6 x USB 2.0
1 x eSATA II
1 x Optical, 1 x Coaxial
3 Audio Ports

Form FactorMini ITXMini ITX
Warranty2 years limitedLifetime limited
Price / Retailer$144.99 Newegg$169.99 Newegg

CPU Chart

Chip

Name

Power / 64bit

www.cpubenchmark.net

Virtualization / Hyper-Tranport

Price

Intel Core i3-540 Clarkdale 3.06GHz 4MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core

Core i3-540

73W / Yes

109

Yes/Yes

$139.99

Intel Pentium G6950 Clarkdale 2.8GHz 3MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core

Pentium G6950

73W / Yes

202

Yes / No

$95.99

AMD Athlon II X2 255 Regor 3.1GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core

Athlon II X2 255

65W / Yes

205

Yes / Yes

$74.99

Intel® Atom™ Processor 330 (1M Cache, 1.60 GHz, 533 MHz FSB)

 

8W / Yes

520

No / Yes

NA

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